space space space space
Ella Fitzgerald: 1917-1996
Ella Fitzgerald: 1917-1996
Home Text Express Essays Text Express Remember Text Express Carnegie Text Express Discography Text Express Listen Text Express Links

July 9th
and July 10, 1996

A review by Jigar Parikh

Wednesday, July 10th: "Body and Soul."

spaceThe second night opened with Clark Terry playing trumpet and singing "Lady Be Good."
spaceThen, Helen Merrill with the Tori Zito Orchestra did "Summertime" and a special Ella song, "Everytime We say Goodbye." (NOTE: To those who say that Ella is too happy in her music, my response is just listen to how the longing still comes through on songs like "Everytime We say Goodbye.")
spaceThen, Herb Ellis joined Bucky Pizzarelli (who spends most of the evening on stage, as he did the first night) and some other performers for a song I was not familiar with.
spaceMargaret Whiting performed two Kern songs. I'm not sure of the name of the song (as I don't own that particular Kern songbook) but the lyrics went something like "she didn't say yes, she didn't say no..." The second song was definitely "I'm Old Fashioned."
spaceThen, one of Nelson Riddle's children -- Chris Riddle -- did a wonderful job conducting the orchestra to his father's arrangement of "Lets Face The Music And Dance."
spaceHarry "Sweets" Edison and Clark Terry (who are long-time friends) played "Jive at Five" on trumpet.
spaceErnestine Anderson sang two Ellington numbers: "I'm Just A Lucky So And So" and "Take the A-Train."
spaceThen, they rolled out the vibes, and host Jonathan Schwartz said, "You know what that means!" However, he announced that Lionel Hampton (who wrote the vibes part of Midnight Sun--my all time favorite) was not doing well and could not attend the tribute. Lionel had sent a protege named Jay Hogart to perform in his place. Jay came out in a very orange suit and began to play Midnight Sun. It was still heavenly to listen to it, even if it wasn't Lionel. The orchestra...the vibes. My fantasy for the evening was that Chris Riddle would conduct the orchestra, Lionel would play the vibes, and Shirley Horn would sing the lyric.
spaceFortunately, they didn't cart the vibraphone away when Jay was done. The next surprise of the evening was guest artist MILT JACKSON, who played a song I did not recognize...but that didn't matter cos' I love the vibes!
spaceAfter the intermision, Paul Smith played two numbers on the piano that I was not familiar with. The first one *might* have been "Its All Right With Me", although I'm not sure.
spaceThen, Carol Sloane came out and sang "Prelude To A Kiss." Then, she was joined for a duet with Clark Terry on "Please Don't Be That Way."
spaceThen, Shirley Horn came on stage to thunderous applause to play piano and sing "Mood Indigo" and "I've Got The World On A String" (again, I can only think of Frank). It was quite good, although I think that she's better suited for songs slower than "String." (for example, I love the way she sings Jobim's "Once I Loved").
spaceThen, guitarist Kenny Burrell played and sang a song that he wrote last year in tribute to Ella. He said that she never got to hear the song although she had heard of it. It was called "Dear Ella", and I managed to jot down some of the lyrics:

Dear Ella a special first lady of song
dear Ella you gave us your best for so long
dear Ella we're so glad you answered your call
dear Ella it's certain you and your music will stand
spaceso tall that its a blessing to us all

Dear Ella the soul in your songs in heart we can feel you
...such feeling and brought joy to so many with
sounds of music so sublime
Ms. Ella is fun yet number one.
dear Ella always remember your love and goodwill
dear Ella we'll treasure the place in your heart that we...fill
dear Ella we thank you for all that you are
spaceyou are a true shining star...

spaceThen, Ella and Ray's adopted son Ray Brown, Jr. came on and thanked everyone and assured us all that she loved her fans as much as we loved her. "When you went home and talked about her, she went home and talked about you," Ray said.
spaceSusannah McCorkle came on and talked about how Ella generally sang the verse to a song. Then, she gave a great performance of "You'd Be So Easy To Love" and "They Can't Take That Away From Me." I left that evening determined to find some of her albums.
spaceThen, Tommy Flanagan came back and played a song that Ella wrote called "Rough Riding."
spaceWeslia Whitfield came back for a second great night and sang a medley of "Its Only A Paper Moon"/"This Time The Dream's On Me." It was as wonderful as the first night. On Paper Moon, she sounded a bit like Maureen McGovern (on the Arlen tribute "Out Of This World") After Weslia was through, Jonathan Schwartz pointed out that undoubtedly her close friend Nancy LaMott would have performed at the tribute, had she not died so tragically.
spaceThe John Pizzarelli Trio followed with two Gershwin songs: "Embraceable You" and "I Got Rhythm," on which John scatted a bit.
spaceThe evening ended with Diane Schuur. She sang "Body and Soul" and ended with a thunderous "Sweet Georgia Brown."
spaceNo-shows for the evening included: Lionel Hampton, Bobby Short, and Mandy Patinkin.
spaceIt was a fun two nights. However, there was no excuse for not having more of Ella's contemporaries there, such as Tony Bennett (who just completed a tribute album to the Ladies), Mel Torme, and others.

This review of both nights of "Carnegie Hall Celebrates the Music of Ella Fitzgerald" was contributed to our site by Jigar Parikh. All opinions expressed are by the reviewer and not necessarily held by the producers of this site.  This site rescued by